Alexandria, VA – Carletha “Nana” West became a fan of the Washington Redskins in the 1930s, back when Sammy Baugh was the punter and quarterback. On Thursday, July 18, Nana celebrated her 107th birthday and received an unexpected surprise – an appearance from Redskins Team Manager Bruce Allen, who presented her with congratulations and a special team jersey.
“When you see this gift you’ll see why nobody else has it,” Allen told Nana in front of her friends and family at Brandywine Living of Alexandria. “We’ve given Nana the title of the world’s oldest Redskins fan.”
Nana, who has been a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church since 1935, also received a proclamation from Mayor Justin Wilson declaring July 18, 2019, as Carletha “Nana” West Day. Brandywine also presented her with a Redskins blanket while a musician played some of her favorite tunes, including “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Let’s Twist Again.”
“You all are my favorite team,” Nana told Allen, and then, like a true fan asked him, “So, are we going to have a good year this year?”
“I never expected I would live this long,” West told The Zebra. “But every year I add on another year!”
What’s Nana’s secret to longevity?
“Just live a good clean life. Stay active in things that interest you,” she said.
According to the city proclamation:
“Nana West’s life has been not only a gift for her family and loved ones, she has also herself witnessed many events that left their mark on humanity during two centuries, including: the First World War, Women’s Suffrage, the Great Depression, the discovery and development of Penicillin, American and Allied victory in World War II, the Nuclear Age, Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, the Voting Rights Act and the American Civil Rights Era, the Moon Landing, the invention of the World Wide Web, the election and reelection of President Barack Obama, and three Super Bowl wins by the Washington Redskins.”
Carletha West was born the youngest of four sisters in 1912 in Robeson County, NC, and moved to Newport News, VA, in 1931 to attend high school.
“I was born the year that the Titanic sank,” Nana said. “There was not a high school in the little town where I was, so I moved to Newport News and lived with relatives.”
Nana is a world traveler, embarking on voyages to England, France, Mexico, and the Virgin Islands. She would go on to survive her two sons, Lloyd J. Coleman, Jr., and James Freeman. She lived in Washington, D.C. most of her life, and raised her grandchildren Robyn Brandon, Bernard Douglas, Jr., Tamara Dunham, and Lloyd J. Coleman III in Washington, D.C. while working for the U.S. Navy for more than 30 years. She retired in the 1970s as a budget analyst.
“She didn’t stop driving until she was 100 years old,” said Nana’s granddaughter Tammy Dunham. “She’s very independent, and she remembers everything, and she’s always had this style about her where she’s perfectly put together.”
Happy 107th Birthday to Nana West!